The British Olympic Association has reacted to speculation that Japan could place the UK on its red list by revealing that 86% of Team GB has already had at least one Covid vaccine – and pledging to do everything possible to keep the local population in Tokyo safe.
In a letter to the head of the Tokyo organising committee, Seiko Hashimoto, the BOA chair, Hugh Robertson, said Team GB athletes and staff were “doing everything possible to minimise any risk to the people of Japan” in the lead-up to the Olympic Games. He also promised the hosts that the BOA would “do everything we can to get the entire team fully vaccinated before we depart for Japan”.
The letter comes amid concerns that some countries with dangerous Covid variants may face longer quarantine periods in Japan before the Olympics begin. There also remains considerable unease in Japan about the staging of the Games, with Tokyo still under a state of emergency and less than 10% of the population having been vaccinated at all.
On Tuesday Hashimoto warned that media covering the Games would be closely monitored to ensure they did not leave pre-registered areas such as hotels and sports venues. But the BOA’s chief executive, Andy Anson, promised that Team GB would “go over and above the requirements of organisers” with testing and isolation protocols.
“It’s our priority to protect not only the health of our athletes and wider delegation, but our hosts in Tokyo,” he added. “Everyone will undergo a PCR test 14 days prior to travel and regular lateral flow tests thereafter, as we also shield ourselves for the final build-up to the Games. That will mean avoiding close contacts, or going to crowded or indoor spaces.
“We’ll then take two PCR tests within 96 hours of travel, before a final test on the day of departure. We’re doing all we can, and more than we need to, to ensure our delegation is Covid free upon arrival in Japan.”